Mr. Doyle, coupla' questions (I'm full of 'em)
1) How to catch the hoppers?
2) Best rig for for non fly fishers?
First you will need something to put them in after you catch them. Go to Wal Mart or Academy and buy several gallon type cricket buckets and then by a tire shop and get several old tire tubes that are no longer useable. Slit open the tube, place a dinner plate on the rubber and circle the plate using a Sharpie marker or ballpoint pen. Make sure your plate is considerable larger than the end of the cricket bucket. Using scissors cut along your mark and when completed you will have a round piece of rubber the size of the plate. Take a sharp knife or razor blade and cut a 4 or 5 inch slit in the middle of your cutout. Remove the funnel and lay the rubber cutout over the end of the bucket and stretch the rubber with the direction of the slip. With someone helping you, take bailing wire and put around the end of the bucket and secure the stretched rubber to the bucket. Repeat the process with another piece of rubber but in the opposite direction. Any excess rubber can be trimmed off but leave about an inch past the wire.
Now you are ready to go catch some hopper. After dark take a flashlight and head to a country road with Johnson grass or blood weeds on the side of the road. Right now corn patch next to the road will be good but as the corn stalks become dry, hoppers will leave.
As Johnson grass starts to dry up, try blood weeds as they will stay green all summer. Easy picking using a flashlight.
The slit in the rubber will allow you to put the hoppers in the bucket as you catch them and you will be able to insert part of your hand to catch them when you start to fish. After fishing if you have hoppers left, just hang the bucket in a tree so it is in the shade all day and where wind can blow through the bucket. About every 2 days, put some Johnson grass leaves, lettuce leaves or pieces of a peach or cantaloupe in the bucket. I try not to put over 50 to 60 hoppers in a bucket and you can keep them alive for weeks as long as you feed them. Cut up ripe peaches & cantaloupe works best for me and provide an excellent source of moisture that the hoppers need.
A spinning reel on a long rod might work but I suggest that you invest in a low price fly rod, reel and fly line. You can get a combo (manual reel, 9 foot rod & floating line) for around $50.00. A manual reel will work just as good as an automatic. With a little practice, in no time you will be popping the water like a pro. Tie a 17 lbs monofilament line to your fly rod line. I use a fly line eye insert and tie the monofilament this way. Insert a very small bobber (cork) on the line and then a 1/0 or 2/0 plain shank Eagle Claw hook on the end. Do not use any weight. Shred the hopper on your hook starting at the back end ending with the point of the hook just sticking through the head of the hopper. Set the bobber about 2 feet above the hook (you can try several depts) and then pop the hopper on the water several times and then let it lay. If no bite in about 30 seconds, repeat the popping process. When the bobber goes under, do not set the hook immediately, let the fish run and when the line is tight, set the hook.
I fish private soil conservation lakes and try to find one with murky water. If the water is too clear, you will have problems with perch. Fish from daylight till about 9AM and then about an hour before dark. Morning fishing is the best.